CHAPTER XII. The Close Of The War

While the American people were concentrating their attention upon the blockade of Santiago near their own shores, the situation in the distant islands of the Pacific was rapidly becoming acute. All through June, Dewey had been maintaining himself, with superb nerve, in Manila Harbor, in the midst of uncertain neutrals. A couple of unwieldy United States monitors were moving slowly to his assistance from the one side, while a superior Spanish fleet was approaching from the other. On the 26th of June, the Spanish Admiral Camara had reached Port Said, but he was not entirely happy. Several of his vessels proved to be in that ineffective condition which was characteristic of the Spanish Navy. The Egyptian authorities refused him permission to refit his ships or to coal, and the American consul had with foresight bought up much of the coal which the Spanish Admiral had hoped to secure and take aboard later from colliers. Nevertheless the fleet passed through the Suez Canal and entered the Red Sea.

Fully alive to the danger of the situation, the Naval War Board gave orders on the 29th of June for a squadron under Commodore Watson to start for the Spanish coast in hope of drawing Camara back.

The alarm which had previously been created on the American coast by the shrouded approach of Cervera naturally suggested that the Americans themselves might win one of those psychological victories now recognized as such an important factor in modern warfare. The chief purpose of future operations was to convince the Spanish people that they were defeated, and nothing would more conduce to this result than to bring war to their doors. This was, moreover, an operation particularly suited to the conditions under which the United States was waging war, for publicity was here a helping factor. Admiral Sampson, more intent on immediate business than on psychological pressure, was not enthusiastically in favor of the plan. Nevertheless preparation proceeded with that deliberation which in this case was part of the game, and presently the shadow of an impending American attack hung heavy over the coasts of Spain. The Spanish Government at first perhaps considered the order a bluff which the United States would not dare to carry out while Cervera's fleet was so near its own shores; but with the destruction of Cervera's ships the plan became plainly possible, and on the 8th of July the Spanish Government ordered Camara back to parade his vessels before the Spanish cities to assure them of protection.

But, before Camara was called home, the public were watching his advance against the little American fleet at Manila, with an anxiety perhaps greater than Dewey's own. Nothing in modern war equals in dramatic tension the deadly, slow, inevitable approach of a fleet from one side of the world against its enemy on the other. Both beyond the reach of friendly help, each all powerful until it meets its foe, their home countries have to watch the seemingly never coming, but nevertheless certain, clash, which under modern conditions means victory or destruction. It is the highest development of that situation which has been so exploited in a myriad forms by the producers of dramas for the moving pictures and which nightly holds audiences silent; but it plays itself out in war, not in minutes but in months. No one who lived through that period can ever forget the progress of Camara against Dewey, or that of Rozhestvensky with the Russian fleet, six years later, against Togo.

Meanwhile another move was made in the Caribbean. General Miles had from the first considered Porto Rico the best immediate objective: it was much nearer Spain than Cuba, was more nearly self-sufficing if left alone, and less defensible if attacked. The War Department, on the 7th of June, had authorized Miles to assemble thirty thousand troops for the invasion of Porto Rico, and preparations for this expedition were in progress throughout the course of the Santiago campaign. Miles at the time of the surrender of Santiago was actually off that city with reinforcements, which thereupon at once became available as a nucleus to be used against Porto Rico. On the 21st of July he left Guantanamo Bay and, taking the Spaniards as well as the War Department completely by surprise as to his point of attack, he effected a landing on the 26th at Guanica, near the southwestern corner of Porto Rico.

The expeditionary force to Porto Rico, however, consisted not of 30,000 men but of only about 15,000; and it was not fully assembled on the island until the 8th of August. The total Spanish forces amounted to only about 10,000, collected on the defensible ground to the north and in the interior, so that they did not disturb the disembarkation. The American Army which had been dispatched from large Atlantic ports, such as Charleston and Newport News, seems to have been better and more systematically equipped than the troops sent to Santiago. The Americans occupied Guanica, Ponce, and Arroyo with little or no opposition, and were soon in possession of the southern shores of the island.

Between the American forces and the main body of the enemy stretched a range of mountains running east and west through the length of the island. San Juan, the only fortress, which was the main objective of the American Army, lay on the opposite side of this mountain range, on the northern coast of the island. The approach to the fortress lay along a road which crossed the hills and which possessed natural advantages for defense. On the 7th of August a forward movement was begun. While General Wilson's army advanced from Ponce along the main road toward San Juan and General Brooke moved north from Arroyo, General Schwan was to clear the western end of the island and work his way around to Arecibo, toward which General Henry was to advance through the interior. The American armies systematically worked forward, with an occasional skirmish in which they were always victorious, and were received with a warm welcome by the teeming native population. On the 13th of August, General Wilson was on the point of clearing his first mountain range, General Schwan had occupied Mayaguez, and General Henry had passed through the mountains and was marching down the valley of the Arecibo, when orders arrived from Washington to suspend operations.

The center of interest, however, remained in the far-away Philippines. Dewey, who had suddenly burst upon the American people as their first hero, remained a fixed star in their admiration, a position in which his own good judgment and the fortunate scarcity of newspaper correspondents served to maintain him. From him action was expected, and it had been prepared for. Even before news arrived on the 7th of May of Dewey's victory on the 1st of May, the Government had anticipated such a result and had decided to send an army to support him. San Francisco was made a rendezvous for volunteers, and on the l2th of May, General Wesley Merritt was assigned to command the expedition. Dewey reported that he could at any time command the surrender of Manila, but that it would be useless unless he had troops to occupy the city.

On the 19th of May, General Merritt received the following orders: "The destruction of the Spanish fleet at Manila, followed by the taking of the naval station at Cavite, the paroling of the garrisons, and the acquisition of the control of the bay, have rendered it necessary, in the further prosecution of the measures adopted by this Government for the purpose of bringing about an honorable and durable peace with Spain, to send an army of occupation to the Philippines for the twofold purpose of completing the reduction of the Spanish power in that quarter and giving order and security to the islands while in the possession of the United States."

On the 30th of June the first military expedition, after a bloodless capture of the island of Guam, arrived in Manila Bay. A second contingent arrived on the 17th of July, and on the 25th, General Merritt himself with a third force, which brought the number of Americans up to somewhat more than 10,000. The Spaniards had about 13,000 men guarding the rather antiquated fortifications of old Manila and a semicircle of blockhouses and trenches thrown about the city, which contained about 350,000 inhabitants.

It would have been easy to compel surrender or evacuation by the guns of the fleet, had it not been for an additional element in the situation. Manila was already besieged, or rather blockaded, on the land side, by an army of nearly ten thousand Philippine insurgents under their shrewd leader, Emilio Aguinaldo. It does not necessarily follow that those who are fighting the same enemy are fighting together, and in this case the relations between the Americans and the insurgents were far from intimate, though Dewey had kept the situation admirably in hand until the arrival of the American troops.

General Merritt decided to hold no direct communication with Aguinaldo until the Americans were in possession of the city, but landed his army to the south of Manila beyond the trenches of the Filipinos. On the 30th of July, General F. V. Greene made an informal arrangement with the Filipino general for the removal of the insurgents from the trenches directly in front of the American forces, and immediately advanced beyond their original position. The situation of Manila was indeed desperate and clearly demanded a surrender to the American forces, who might be relied upon to preserve order and protect property. The Belgian Consul, M. Eduard Andre, urged this course upon the Spanish commander. The Governor-General, Fermin Jaudenes, exhibited the same spirit which the Spanish commanders revealed throughout the war: though constitutionally indisposed to take any bold action, he nevertheless considered it a point of honor not to recognize the inevitable. He allowed it to be understood that he could not surrender except to an assault, although well knowing that such a melee might cause the city to be ravaged by the Filipinos. M. Andre, however, succeeded by the 11th of August in arranging a verbal understanding that the fleet should fire upon the city and that the troops should attack, but that the Spaniards should make no real resistance and should surrender as soon as they considered that their honor was saved.

The chief contestants being thus amicably agreed to a spectacular but bloodless battle, the main interest lay in the future action of the interested and powerful spectators in the harbor. Admiral Dewey, though relieved by the arrival of the monitor Monterey on the 4th of August, was by no means certain that the German squadron would stand by without interference and see the city bombarded. On the 9th of August he gave notice of the impending action and ordered foreign vessels out of the range of fire. On the 13th of August Dewey steamed into position before the city. As the American vessels steamed past the British Immortalite, her guard paraded and her band played Admiral Dewey's favorite march. Immediately afterwards the British commander, Captain Chichester, moved his vessels toward the city and took a position between our fleet and the German squadron. The foreign vessels made no interference, but the Filipinos were more restless. Eagerly watching the American assault, they rushed forward when they saw it successful, and began firing on the Spaniards just as the latter hoisted the white flag. They were quieted, though with difficulty, and by nightfall the city was under the Stars and Stripes, with American troops occupying the outworks facing the forces of Aguinaldo, who were neither friends nor foes.

While the dispatch of Commodore Watson's fleet to Spain was still being threatened and delayed, while General Miles was rapidly approaching the capital of Porto Rico, and on the same day that Admiral Dewey and General Merritt captured Manila, Spain yielded. On the 18th of July Spain had taken the first step toward peace by asking for the good offices of the French Government. On the 26th of July, M. Cambon, the French Ambassador at Washington, opened negotiations with the United States. On the 12th of August, a protocol was signed, but, owing to the difference in time on the opposite side of the globe, to say nothing of the absence of cable communication, not in time to prevent Dewey's capture of Manila. This protocol provided for the meeting of peace commissioners at Paris not later than the 1st of October. Spain agreed immediately to evacuate and relinquish all claim to Cuba; to cede to the United States ultimately all other islands in the West Indies, and one in the Ladrones; and to permit the United States to "occupy and hold the city, bay, and harbor of Manila pending the conclusion of a treaty of peace which shall determine the control, disposition, and government of the Philippines."

President McKinley appointed the Secretary of State, William R. Day, as president of the peace commission, and summoned John Hay home from England to take his place. The other commissioners were Senators Cushman K. Davis and William P. Frye, Republicans, Senator George Gray, Democrat, and Whitelaw Reid, the editor of the New York "Tribune". The secretary of the commission was the distinguished student of international law, John Bassett Moore. On most points there was general agreement as to what they were to do. Cuba, of course, must be free. It was, moreover, too obvious to need much argument that Spanish rule on the American continent must come altogether to an end. As there was no organized local movement in Porto Rico to take over the government, its cession to the United States was universally recognized as inevitable. Nevertheless when the two commissions met in Paris, there proved to be two exciting subjects of controversy, and at moments it seemed possible that the attempt to arrange a peace would prove unsuccessful. However reassured the people were by the successful termination of the war, for those in authority the period of anxiety had not yet entirely passed.

The first of these points was raised by the Spanish commissioners. They maintained that the separation of Cuba from Spain involved the rending of the Empire, and that Cuba should therefore take responsibilities as well as freedom. The specific question was that of debts contracted by Spain, for the security of which Cuban revenues had been pledged. There was a manifest lack of equity in this claim, for Cuba had not been party to the contracting of the obligations, and the money had been spent in stifling her own desire to be free rather than on the development of her resources. Nevertheless the Spanish commissioners could feel the support of a sustaining public opinion about them, for the bulk of these obligations were held in France and investors were doubtful of the ability of Spain, if bereft of her colonies, to carry her enormous financial burdens. The point, then, was stoutly urged, but the American commissioners as stoutly defended the interests of their clients, the Cubans, and held their ground. Thanks to their efforts, the Cuban republic was born free of debt.

The other point was raised by the American commissioners, and was both more important and more complicated, for when the negotiation began the United States had not fully decided what it wanted. It was necessary first to decide and then to obtain the consent of Spain with regard to the great unsettled question of the disposition of the Philippines. Dewey's victory came as an overwhelming surprise to the great majority of Americans snugly encased, as they supposed themselves to be, in a separate hemisphere. Nearly all looked upon it as a military operation only, not likely to lead to later complications. Many discerning individuals, however, both in this country and abroad, at once saw or feared that occupation would lead to annexation. Carl Schurz, as early as the 9th of May, wrote McKinley expressing the hope that "we remain true to our promise that this is a war of deliverance and not one of greedy ambition, conquest, self-aggrandizement." In August, Andrew Carnegie wrote in "The North American Review" an article on "Distant Possessions - The Parting of the Ways."

Sentiment in favor of retaining the islands, however, grew rapidly in volume and in strength. John Hay wrote to Andrew Carnegie on the 22d of August: "I am not allowed to say in my present fix (ministerial responsibility) how much I agree with you. The only question in my mind is how far it is now POSSIBLE for us to withdraw from the Philippines. I am rather thankful it is not given to me to solve that momentous question." On the 5th of September, he wrote to John Bigelow: "I fear you are right about the Philippines, and I hope the Lord will be good to us poor devils who have to take care of them. I marvel at your suggesting that we pay for them. I should have expected no less of your probity; but how many except those educated by you in the school of morals and diplomacy would agree with you? Where did I pass you on the road of life? You used to be a little my senior [twenty-one years]; now you are ages younger and stronger than I am. And yet I am going to be Secretary of State for a little while."

Not all those who advocated the retention of the Philippines did so reluctantly or under the pressure of a feeling of necessity. In the very first settlers of our country, the missionary impulse beat strong. John Winthrop was not less intent than Cromwell on the conquest of all humanity by his own ideals; only he believed the most efficacious means to be the power of example instead of force. Just now there was a renewed sense throughout the Anglo-Saxon public that it was the duty of the civilized to promote the civilization of the backward, and the Cromwellian method waxed in popularity. Kipling, at the summit of his influence, appealed to a wide and powerful public in his "White Man's Burden," which appeared in 1899.

Take up the White Man's burden - Send forth the best ye breed - Go bind your sons to exile To serve your captives' need; To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild - Your new caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden - And reap his old reward The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard - The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) towards the light: - Why brought ye us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?

McKinley asked those having opinions on the subject of this burden to write to him, and a strong call for the United States to take up her share in the regeneration of mankind came from important representatives of the religious public. Nor was the attitude of those different who saw the possibilities of increased traffic with the East. The expansion of the area of home distribution seemed a halfway house between the purely nationalistic policy, which was becoming a little irksome, and the competition of the open world.

It was not, however, the urging of these forces alone which made the undecided feel that the annexation of the Philippines was bound to come. The situation itself seemed to offer no other solution. Gradually evidence as to the local conditions reached America. The Administration was anxious for the commissioners to have the latest information, and, as Admiral Dewey remained indispensable at Manila, General Merritt was ordered to report at Paris, where he arrived on the 6th of October. He was of the opinion that the Americans must remain in the Philippines, and his reports were sustained by a cablegram from Dewey on the 14th of October reading: "Spanish authority has been completely destroyed in Luzon, and general anarchy prevails without the limits of the city and Bay of Manila. Strongly probable that islands to the south will fall into the same state soon." The history of the previous few years and existing conditions made it highly improbable that Spanish domination could ever be restored. The withdrawal of the United States would therefore not mean the reestablishment of Spanish rule but no government at all.

As to the regime which would result from our withdrawal, Admiral Dewey judged from the condition of those areas where Spanish authority had already ceased and that of the Americans had not yet been established. "Distressing reports," he cabled, "have been received of inhuman cruelty practised on religious and civil authorities in other parts of these islands. The natives appear unable to govern." It was highly probable, in fact, that if the United States did not take the islands, Spain would sell her vanishing equity in the property to some other power which possessed the equipment necessary to conquer the Philippines. To many this eventuality did not seem objectionable, as is indicated by the remark, already quoted, of an American official to certain Germans: "We don't want the Philippines; why don't you take them?" That this attitude was foolishly Quixotic is obvious, but more effective in the molding of public opinion was the feeling that it was cowardly.

In such a changing condition of public sentiment, McKinley was a better index of what the majority wanted than a referendum could have been. In August he stated: "I do not want any ambiguity to be allowed to remain on this point. The negotiators of both countries are the ones who shall resolve upon the permanent advantages which we shall ask in the archipelago, and decide upon the intervention, disposition, and government of the Philippines." His instructions to the commissioners actually went farther:

"Avowing unreservedly the purpose which has animated all our effort, and still solicitous to adhere to it, we cannot be unmindful that, without any desire or design on our part, the war has brought us new duties and responsibilities which we must meet and discharge as becomes a great nation on whose growth and career from the beginning the Ruler of Nations has plainly written the high command and pledge of civilization.

"Incidental to our tenure in the Philippines is the commercial opportunity to which American statesmanship cannot be indifferent.... Asking only the open door for ourselves, we are ready to accord the open door to others.

"In view of what has been stated, the United States cannot accept less than the cession in full rights and sovereignty of the island of Luzon."

The American commissioners were divided. Day favored the limited terms of the instructions; Davis, Frye, and Reid wished the whole group of the Philippines; Gray emphatically protested against taking any part of the islands. On the 26th of October, Hay telegraphed that the President had decided that "the cession must be of the whole Archipelago or none." The Spanish commissioners objected strongly to this new development, and threatened to break off the negotiations which otherwise were practically concluded. This outcome would have put the United States in the unfortunate position of continuing a war which it had begun in the interests of Cuba for the quite different purpose of securing possession of the Philippines. The Spanish were probably not without hopes that under these changed conditions they might be able to bring to their active assistance that latent sympathy for them which existed so strongly in Europe. Nor was the basis of the claim of the United States entirely clear. On the 3d of November the American commissioners cabled to the President that they were convinced that the occupation of Manila did not constitute a conquest of the islands as a whole.

By this time, however, the President had decided that the United States must have the islands. On the 13th of November, Hay telegraphed that the United States was entitled to an indemnity for the cost of the war. This argument was not put forward because the United States wished indemnity but to give a technical basis for the American claim to the Philippines. In the same cablegram, Hay instructed the commissioners to offer Spain ten or twenty millions for all the islands. Upon this financial basis the treaty was finally concluded; it was signed on December 10, 1898; and ratifications were exchanged on April 11, 1899.

The terms of the treaty provided, first, for the relinquishment of sovereignty over Cuba by Spain. The island was to be occupied by the United States, in whose hands its subsequent disposition was left. All other Spanish islands in the West Indies, together with Guam in the Ladrones, were ceded to the United States. The whole archipelago of the Philippines, with water boundaries carefully but not quite accurately drawn, was ceded to the United States, which by the same article agreed to pay Spain $20,000,000. All claims for indemnity or damages between the two nations, or either nation and the citizens of the other, were mutually relinquished, the United States assuming the adjudication and settlement of all claims of her own citizens against Spain.

This treaty, even more than the act of war, marked a turning point in the relation of the United States to the outside world. So violent was the opposition of those who disapproved, and so great the reluctance of even the majority of those who approved, to acknowledge that the United States had emerged from the isolated path which it had been treading since 1823, that every effort was made to minimize the significance of the beginning of a new era in American history. It was argued by those delving into the past that the Philippines actually belonged to the Western Hemisphere because the famous demarcation line drawn by Pope Alexander VI, in 1493, ran to the west of them; it was, indeed, partly in consequence of that line that Spain had possessed the islands. Before Spain lost Mexico her Philippine trade had actually passed across the Pacific, through the Mexican port of Acapulco, and across the Atlantic. Yet these interesting historical facts were scarcely related in the mind of the public to the more immediate and tangible fact that the annexation of the Philippines gave the United States a far-flung territory situated just where all the powerful nations of the world were then centering their interest.

In opposition to those who disapproved of this extension of territory, it was argued more cogently that, in spite of the prevailing belief of the thirty preceding years, the United States had always been an expanding power, stretching its authority over new areas with a persistency and rapidity hardly equaled by any other nation, and that this latest step was but a new stride in the natural expansion of the United States. But here again the similarity between the former and the most recent steps was more apparent than real. Louisiana, Florida, Texas, California, and Oregon, had all been parts of an obvious geographical whole. Alaska, indeed, was detached, but its acquisition had been partly accidental, and it was at least a part of the American continent and would, in the opinion of many, eventually become contiguous by the probable annexation of Canada. Moreover, none of the areas so far occupied by the United States had been really populated. It had been a logical expectation that American people would soon overflow these acquired lands and assimilate the inhabitants. In the case of the Philippines, on the other hand, it was fully recognized that Americans could at most be only a small governing class, and that even Porto Rico, accessible as it was, would prove too thickly settled to give hopes of Americanization.

The terms of the treaty with Spain, indeed, recognized these differences. In all previous instances, except Alaska, the added territory had been incorporated into the body of the United States with the expectation, now realized except in Hawaii, of reaching the position of self-governing and participating States of the Union. Even in the case of Alaska it had been provided that all inhabitants remaining in residence, except uncivilized Indians, should become citizens of the United States. In the case of these new annexations resulting from the war with Spain, provision was made only for the religious freedom of the inhabitants. "The civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the territories hereby ceded to the United States shall be determined by the Congress." There could therefore be no doubt that for the first time the United States had acquired colonies and that the question whether they should develop into integral parts of the country or into dependencies of an imperialistic republic was left to the future to decide.

It was but natural that such striking events and important decisions should loom large as factors in the following presidential campaign. The Republicans endorsed the Administration, emphatically stated that the independence and self-government of Cuba must be secured, and, with reference to the other islands, declared that "the largest measure of self-government consistent with their welfare and our duties shall be secured to them by law." The Democrats asserted that "no nation can long endure half republic and half empire," and favored "an immediate declaration of the Nation's purpose to give the Filipinos, first, a stable form of government; second, independence; and third, protection from outside interference such as has been given for nearly a century to the republics of Central and South America." The Democrats were at a disadvantage owing to the fact that, since so much had been irrevocably accomplished, they could not raise the whole issue of colonial expansion but only advocate a different policy for the handling of what seemed to most people to be details. The distrust which their financial program of 1896 had excited, moreover, still hung over them and repelled many voters who might have supported them on questions of foreign and colonial policies. Nevertheless the reflection of President McKinley by a greatly increased majority must be taken as indicating that the American people generally approved of his policies and accepted the momentous changes which had been brought about by the successful conclusion of the war with Spain.